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Podcast: "Qatar and the FIFA World Cup 2022: An Attempt to Gain Soft Power" with Danyel Reiche

October 6, 2014

An audio recording from Danyel Reiche, Associate Professor for Comparative Politics, American University of Beirut and Visiting Scholar at Harvard.

On October 6, 2014 at MEI, Professor Reiche presented research on Qatar's activity in the sports sector, naming it as an explicit area of focus for Qatar's development plans and examining the potential domestic and foreign policy aims of the tiny Gulf Cooperation Council nation in their pursuit of sporting excellence. Reiche detailed the massive push in Qatar to host sporting events and to promote sport among its citizens (sometimes called the most obese in the world), including Qatar's unique celebration of a national Sports Day. Reiche also looked at the sponsorship of internationally famous sporting clubs and individual athletes, as well as ambitious youth talent development and international talent recruiting - coupled with relaxed nationalisation laws - and the resulting payoffs. Qatar, a country now punching far above its weight in international sport, is poised to hold the FIFA World Cup in 2022 amid varying criticisms including corruption in FIFA's selection process and health-related problems due to astronomical summer heat. Reiche combined his analysis of the sport sector with other Qatari policies, including the global reach of the Al Jazeera news network and hosting a US Naval base, aiming to show that Qatar's sport sector, much more than an elaborate national pride booster, is a gambit to amplify its soft power credentials as a weak military power in a heated region.

Also attached to this posting is Professor Reiche's recently published article in the International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, entitled: "Investing in Sporting Success as a Domestic and Foreign Policy Tool: the Case of Qatar".

Listen to the full recording of the October 6, 2014 event here:

Click here to link to an album of pictures from the event on the MEI Facebook page.

About Danyel Reiche:

Dr. Danyel Reiche, Visiting Scholar at Harvard in the fall term, is associate professor for comparative politics at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon and has also worked as visiting assistant professor at the School of Foreign Services, Georgetown University, in the U.S., and as Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Freie Universität Berlin in Germany. He is author of numerous peer-reviewed articles, most recently in European Sports Management Quarterly,International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, Journal of Energy Policy, Sport in Society, Soccer & Society, and Third World Quarterly.

For more information on this publication: Please contact Middle East Initiative
For Academic Citation:Podcast: "Qatar and the FIFA World Cup 2022: An Attempt to Gain Soft Power" with Danyel Reiche.” News, , October 6, 2014.